Scenic Missouri tackles bold initiatives to enhance the state’s scenic beauty and improve the quality of life for Missouri residents. Our current projects include developing a new scenic byway, challenging billboard regulations, advocating for I-70 beautification, and growing our organizational capacity.
Challenging Billboard Blight and Protecting Local Control
The 2002 amendments to the outdoor advertising statute significantly improved the law by increasing the minimum distance between signs and decreasing the maximum allowable size of billboards. With this legislation, the majority of existing signs have been classified as non-conforming, and as such, the number of billboards along the state’s highways can be expected to decrease over time.
But despite improved legislation, many billboards in Missouri have no ad copy, yet technically they are not considered abandoned because of the presence of a billboard company phone number (or copy promoting the company). These eyesores must be taken down, but a lack of resources prevents this from happening. Due to chronic underfunding by the Missouri State Legislature, MoDOT has limited resources to allocate to enforcement. Scenic Missouri will continue to reclaim our state’s scenic beauty by advocating for additional commonsense amendments to the statutes. We will increase our communications with MoDOT to ensure a collaborative working relationship, seek to secure dedicated sources of funding for billboard removal efforts, and identify opportunities for public and press outreach to increase awareness.
Advocating for I-70 Beautification
Many people see Missouri for the first time while traveling on I-70, which is not an ideal first impression. By educating the public and MoDOT about the benefits of context-sensitive design, Scenic Missouri will advocate for the implementation of a comprehensive, pro-scenic design for the future rebuild of I-70. This includes solid aesthetic highway design elements—more than mere cosmetic touches—such as the purchase of acreage or development rights to allow for curvature and variation of roadway alignment. We also intend to build a coalition of support along the I-70 corridor among Missouri House of Representatives members and state senators, county commissions, city councils, chambers of commerce, economic development organizations, garden clubs, and environmental and transportation activists.
Promoting the Ozark Run Scenic Byway
Scenic Missouri is promoting the establishment of a new route, the Ozark Run Scenic Byway, a 78-mile route across two counties, showcasing some of Missouri’s most beautiful natural highlights and charming small towns, driving more economic activity across the region through travel and tourism promotion.